Mateo Vazquez ’21
This past week in Sarasota, Florida there was a reunion of Trinity alumni all competing for the opportunity to gain a spot on the U.S. Olympic rowing team. The alumni that participated in the regatta were brothers John ’10, Peter ’07, and Tom ’05 Graves. Peter, John, and Tom had all at one point during their time at Trinity participated in the Henley Royal Regatta. The regatta, which had been held annually since 1839, is considered one of the most prestigious events to win in the rowing community as teams from around the world face off in a 2112 meter duel between another crew. Peter and Tom were actually able to secure this title in 2005 and once again made it as a finalist in 2008. Hence, the Graves family has a long history of rowing roots at Trinity and within the rowing community.
In their last attempt to qualify for the Rio Olympics, John and Peter were both in the U.S. quadruple scull and missed their shot at the Olympics by 0.7 seconds, finishing in fourth. However, the Russians who won the race in 2016 were disqualified later on for doping and the U.S. ended up in third place.
In 2013, John was on the Senior National Team and has been training ever since for the opportunity. All of the Graves brothers are pursuing their chance to compete this year. Peter and Tom competed last week in the double scull and John raced to qualify in the single. Tom will also be going to another trial later in April to try and qualify in the quadruple scull. On Friday, John made it all the way to the final round for the single scull and was able to take first place in the trials. In an interview with U.S rowing after he described it as one of the more stressful events of his career, but was able to hone in off the start and find a rhythm that took him down the course.
By winning this trial, John is now the U.S. national representative for the men’s single and his next area of focus for his training is on preparing for the next round of trials in Lucerne Switzerland. John hopes for a different outcome than 2016. If he is able to make it into the top three in Switzerland he will be going to the Tokyo Olympics. Needless to say John has been on the hunt for this Olympic journey for quite some time, and hopefully he will be able to secure his slot in May. All of the brothers have made strides in reaching this Olympic level and are all behind John and his chance to make it into the singles event. In an interview with The Hartford Courant, which had previously covered the Grave brother’s endeavors, Peter relayed his faith in his brother John, saying that he is “our gold medal hope for Tokyo.”
This is a momentous event and a great opportunity to reflect on how far the Trinity rowing program has come. As both the men’s and women’s rowing programs have seen alumni that have gone to World and Olympic trials on multiple occasions, the Tripod looks forward to supporting the Grave brothers as they work towards securing spots to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.